Going to Trial in Workers’ Compensation
We are often asked by our clients “Will my case go to trial?” and the answer to this question depends on whether or not the workers’ compensation carrier (the insurance company) has denied your claim or if it has refused to provide medical or money benefits that you are entitled to under Florida law. The first step towards getting to trial (often called a final merit hearing) in workers’ compensation is by filing a Petition for Benefits (PFB). Our firm can help you file the Petition for Benefits to claim all benefits relevant to your case. Examples of benefits frequently claimed in Petitions are lost wages (temporary total and temporary partial disability), reimbursement for medical expenses, transportation expenses, authorization for specialists, authorization for diagnostic tests, the provision for a translator (if English is a second language), and other similar benefits related to the work accident. Once the Petition for Benefits is filed, the Carrier has fourteen (14) days to respond to the benefits requested.
The filing of a Petition for Benefits can be a very important step in a workers’ compensation claim. It requires a Carrier to take a position regarding the benefits requested by you and the Carrier must do so in writing. Additionally, once the Petition is filed, unless it is resolved and withdrawn, a state mediation must occur within 120 days of the filing of the mediation. The mediation will be a day that the parties will come together to discuss the possible resolution of all pending Petition issues or alternatively potentially discuss the overall resolution of the entire case, through settlement, if all parties are willing. In workers’ compensation in Florida, a settlement is always voluntary.
While mediation often resolves the pending Petitions issues in the case or results in an overall settlement, if the issues or the case is not resolved, the case moves forward on the Petition issues and your claim for benefits proceeds to a trial before a Judge of Compensation Claims. There is no jury in workers’ compensation trials in Florida. A trial on the benefits at issue in the Petition(s) filed must happen within 210 days of the filing of the Petition for Benefits. The judge will make the final decision about the benefits you are requesting.
If we can assist you with the filing of a Petition for Benefits, or if you would like to schedule a free consultation about your workers’ compensation claim, please contact us at Harris Guidi Rosner at (904) 777-7777 to discuss your case. If you would prefer to email us about scheduling a time to discuss your work accident, you may reach us at email@example.com.